The Joys Of Airline Food

Day 14 - The Joys Of Airline Food - Doodlewash

With our prompt of airplane today, my mind drifted to the food you often find on long flights. Philippe and I travel to France to visit family and are served dinner within a couple hours after take-off. You usually have a choice of the main course, so we opt for vegetarian or chicken, since it seems the safest. Then you get a bunch of bonus items to complete your meal. Every little bit is wrapped, so it’s like unwrapping little gifts. Granted, the gifts you receive are often unrecognizable, but part of the fun is trying to figure out what you’ve actually been served. That little bit of dessert could be chocolate, or something with berries or a blend of both that defies description. Those bits of vegetables must certainly be carrots, but it’s anyone’s guess as to what the other bits surrounding it might actually be and tasting it doesn’t always answer the question. It reminds me of a school lunch as a kid so I find it a rather wonderful experience. The food is rarely fantastic, and some of it is slightly above edible since we can only afford Economy seating. But it’s such a wonderfully mysterious experience that I find it all quite intriguing and fun.

I worked with another Creative Director once from England who often made the commute across the pond. He told me that when crossing the pond you should simply have some water and go directly to sleep, skipping the meal entirely if you want to get on the correct schedule and feel good when you land. I know this is probably very sensible advice, but I love having my little weird meal and maybe even watching a movie afterwards. In truth, I can’t really sleep on planes. It’s far too upright and rigid, and since I’m not a horse, it simply makes no sense to me. While traveling to France, I’m usually on the second movie before I dose off briefly out of sheer exhaustion only to be awoken by the breakfast cart minutes later. By the time we land, I’m only being kept alive by hope and curiosity and and feel like I’m simply sleepwalking. It was in this very state years ago that I met Philippe’s mother for the first time who decided to meet us at the airport. I can’t possibly think I made a good first impression, but since I was far too catatonic to remember any of it clearly, I’ll just assume I did.

I simply can’t pass up that hot mess of a meal when I travel. For me, it’s all part of the experience and makes a rather long flight so much more enjoyable. Sitting still is not really my strong suit, which is why most of my doodlewashes are completed in less 40 minutes. About the length of a show without commercials. I’m then ready to move on to other little things and continue my incessant dabbling until it all fully exhausts me and I fall asleep. This is pretty much how I spend each and every day, so truly, a trip to Paris is rather just par for the course. And though I can find myself suddenly exhausted at the most inopportune moments, like meeting my future mother-in-law, it never stops me from forging ahead with giddy curiosity. I often feel like that little kid the night before Christmas each and every day. There are so many new things to do and discover. If you look around and notice things properly, it’s impossible to ever be truly bored. So while some may find this type of cuisine alarming, I’ll always have a soft spot for the joys of airline food.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Yellow Ochre, Leaf Green, Benzimida Orange, Quinacridone Red, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue.  Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Day 14 - The Joys Of Airline Food - Doodlewash
Recommended3 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!

29 Comments
  1. Sandra Strait 3 months ago

    Your painting looks better than any airline food I’ve ever eaten, I have to admit I always enjoy seeing what I get to eat when I fly. One of those cases where anticipation is definitely the best part of the meal!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕hehe… so true! The anticipation is probably the only good thing about the meal, but it’s so much fun!

  2. Jill Kuhn 3 months ago

    I enjoyed reading your post, Charlie! Have a safe flight! 👍

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks, Jill! 😃💕 This was but a memory… hehe… we’re not due to head back to Paris until January unfortunately.

      • Jill Kuhn 3 months ago

        Oh, silly me… well, a trip to Paris is always possible in our minds I guess! 😄✈️

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

          I spend most of the day in my mind… hehe.. always a wonderful trip! lol ;-)💕

          • Jill Kuhn 3 months ago

            I can totally relate! 😄👍

  3. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 3 months ago

    Your airline tray looks like a kid’s party plate – lots of little surprises so if the child doesn’t like one thing, surely he’ll like something else.

    I’m a bit older than you and remember when airline food, even in economy, was rather good. But it’s been a long time and since I only fly short domestic hops now, airline food is a bag of pretzels and a cup of water. We eat after we land and that’s always a treat.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      I know right? It’s totally a kid’s party plate! LOL That’s why I love it so much! 😃💕 And sometimes the food isn’t so bad on International flights. Traveling back from Paris, we often get French wine, so that’s a plus at least! 😉

  4. Quinn Piper 3 months ago

    Were you on Air France? That is the best airline food I’ve ever had. It was like…food.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      I’ve flown them once and I agree! 😃💕 The French totally still understand what is and isn’t actually food!

  5. Lisa 3 months ago

    This reminded me of the first time my husband met my parents. It was Thanksgiving. Dinner was at one o’clock. At my house when you’re told the time a meal will be served, you can bet your bottom dollar that everyone will be sitting at the table at that time, passing the gravy. Hubs lives by a different clock. He was 1/2 hour late. When he walked in, my dad didn’t even look at him, he just growled, You’re late, sit down! Lol In the end, my father liked Joe very much. And if Joe and I had ever split up, there was a good chance my mother would have kept him in the divorce settlement. 😂😂😂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Aww… I adore that story, Lisa! 😃💕 What fun! Yeah, that first meeting seems like it will decide everything, but in the end, it’s actually getting to know someone that creates the true love.

  6. Sharon Nolfi 3 months ago

    Yes! You’ve captured in words and paint the fun of economy airline meals. The trick is to not take them seriously, as they are most certainly not “food” in any serious sense of that word.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 hehe… yeah… it’s way more fun to approach them like a child. Then it’s the coolest time ever!

  7. Rod Fletcher 3 months ago

    I just love the ingenuity of it all. The fact that someone has sat and worked out how to get all that stuff in such a small space. Thankfully I fly rarely.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      haha! So true, Rod! 😃💕 Each little thing fits on that tray like a jigsaw puzzle. That, in the end, is the real effort taken. The food always leaves a bit to be desired.

  8. Mary Roff 3 months ago

    Spot on, Charlie.Sleep is impossible when adventures are on the horizon.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks, Mary! 😃💕 I know, right? So many adventures await! Who could possibly sleep properly at a time like that?!

  9. LoriCtoo 3 months ago

    I am always thankful I am on short flights. I can always smell the food in first class, and it always smells like cooked broccoli. I like cooked broccoli, but not at 6:30 a.m. Love this story and painting!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks!! 😃💕 hehe… so true! I think they add broccoli to just about everything in first class. I never knew broccoli was considered so classy!

  10. creatingincolors 3 months ago

    Love how you always see the “happy”. Airline food is part of the adventure of traveling!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Aww thanks so much! 😃💕 Yeah, I always look past things to find the happy. To me, it makes life so much more enjoyable!

  11. smzang 3 months ago

    “Those bits of vegetables must certainly be carrots, but it’s anyone’s guess as to what the other bits surrounding it might actually be and tasting it doesn’t always answer the question”

    I love it. It is so accurate and that makes it all the funnier.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Aww thanks! 😃💕 Hehe… yeah, it’s so true, but I still love unwrapping each and every expected gift! lol

  12. foodob-cec-d 3 months ago

    Great read!

  13. sebby holmes 6 days ago

    This is a lovely read Charlie. Thanks very much for writing. Cheers

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 days ago

      Aww thanks so much, Sebby! 😃💕 I’m thrilled you enjoyed it!

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